March 2014
March 2014
Board of Regents Report Banner

Board of Regents

Howard Hawks
District 2

Bob Phares
Vice Chair
District 7

Tim Clare
District 1

Jim Pillen
District 3

Bob Whitehouse
District 4

Robert Schafer
District 5

Kent Schroeder
District 6

Hal Daub
District 8

Moses Moxey

Eric Reznicek

Krupa Savalia

Martha Spangler

Carmen Maurer
Corporation Secretary

James B. Milliken

Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska
3835 Holdrege St
Lincoln NE 68583
(402) 472-3906
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Report from the March 2014 meeting of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

Regents honor Milliken’s highly successful decade as NU president

When he returned to the University of Nebraska almost a decade ago, President James B. Milliken set a goal for the university to renew its focus on its relationship to the people of the state, and on how it could best serve Nebraska through teaching, research and engagement.

Now, as he prepares to conclude his tenure as NU president to become chancellor of the City University of New York, Milliken said that goal “has made all the difference.”

“Over the last 10 years, a talented faculty and staff, led by able campus leaders, has accomplished more than I had thought possible,” Milliken said during the Board of Regents’ March meeting, where the Board recognized his successful service as NU’s sixth president.

“It’s a privilege under any circumstance to serve as the president of a great public university,” Milliken said. “As a native Nebraskan and a graduate of this university, the opportunity to serve the state and the university has been an extraordinary honor and a humbling experience.”

The Board’s resolution honoring Milliken highlighted a number of key achievements the university has experienced under his leadership, including:

  • Development of a Strategic Framework whose specific, measurable goals have guided the actions of the Board and university leadership.
  • A commitment to affordable access to high-quality education, including moderate and predictable tuition increases and record investments in financial aid, especially the Collegebound Nebraska tuition assistance program.
  • Strong relationships with the Governor and members of the Legislature which have helped ensure a stable base of state support as well as investments for critical initiatives like Nebraska Innovation Campus and Building a Healthier Nebraska.
  • Development of university-wide initiatives that leverage the strengths of the four NU campuses to address major challenges facing Nebraska and the world, including the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, Rural Futures Institute, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and the National Strategic Research Institute.
  • Steady growth in enrollment, which is now at a 20-year high of more than 50,000.
  • The launch of the Campaign for Nebraska, the most successful campaign in the university’s history, which so far has raised nearly $1.7 billion – well over the original $1.2 billion goal – for important priorities including student scholarships and faculty support.
  • A new focus on global engagement which has resulted in strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships with individuals and organizations in China, Brazil, India, Turkey and other nations, elevated the university’s international profile and created new and enriched opportunities for students and faculty.

“In the end, the success that all of us have had on behalf of the university depends on how well we tap into the sense of expectation, the optimism and the hope of Nebraskans for their state and for this university,” Milliken said.

He noted that Nebraska faces key challenges for the future, such as shifts in the state’s demographic profile and tight resources at a time when the university will be expected to do even more to educate citizens, conduct competitive research and serve the state. But he said that since he became president, it has been clear to him that Nebraskans care deeply about their university and recognize that for many it is the key to upward mobility and that it helps to ensure a high quality of life for the state.

“The solution to Nebraska’s challenges is not simple, but it is clear,” Milliken said, quoting the speech he delivered at his installation ceremony. “We must invest in the people of Nebraska in order to build our economic competitiveness. We’re not a large state and certainly not a wealthy one, but we have the power to determine our own destiny by educating people who have the vision and talent to compete in a knowledge-based global economy. I believe that education and specifically the University of Nebraska is the key to Nebraska’s future.”

Board appoints Dr. Jim Linder as interim University of Nebraska president

The newly appointed interim president of the University of Nebraska has decades of relevant experience that will serve the university well during the national search for a permanent successor to current President James B. Milliken.

The Board of Regents approved the appointment of James Linder, M.D., of Omaha as interim president during its March 21 meeting. Linder, who is spending the month of April working alongside Milliken to ensure a smooth transition, will become interim president effective May 3.

“The Board of Regents considered several outstanding candidates for interim president, and Jim Linder emerged as our consensus top choice to lead the University of Nebraska during this period of transition,” said Howard Hawks, Chairman of the Board of Regents. “Dr. Linder is very familiar with the university, having served in faculty and administrative positions at UNMC and in the Office of the President on a full- or part-time basis for more than 30 years. He has a wide range of related experience in teaching, research, and external engagement which will serve the university well while we complete the search for the next president.”

Linder most recently served as senior associate to the NU president for innovation and economic competitiveness and president of the University Technology Development Corp. He also holds a faculty appointment as professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to his NU employment, Linder serves as chief medical officer of Roche Diagnostics Hematology of Boston.

“I have great pride in the University of Nebraska, so I am deeply honored to serve as interim president,” Linder said. “I have learned a great deal by working with President Milliken and understand the priority of maintaining the momentum that has built on each campus, and in our university-wide institutes. At the same time, until a new president is selected, the university must be ready to pursue new opportunities that arise.”

Milliken said: “Three years ago I asked Jim Linder to lead our university-wide efforts to promote innovation, public-private partnerships, technology development and commercialization, and he has exceeded my high expectations. He did the same when I asked him to lead the UNMC Chancellor search, which he did with grace and wisdom. His experience in both the university and the private sector has demonstrated his creativity, discipline and leadership. He recognizes the importance of the University of Nebraska to the future of the state, and I have every confidence in his ability to lead this great institution during this period of transition.”

Linder earned his undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and microbiology from Iowa State University, and his M.D. from UNMC. After residency training in pathology at Duke University he returned to NU, where he has been on the faculty since 1983. He has held a number of administrative positions, including vice chair of pathology, director of surgical pathology and cytopathology, associate dean for academic affairs, interim dean of the College of Medicine, associate vice chancellor for research and CEO of UNeMed Corp. He also chaired the recent search for the new UNMC chancellor.

Linder has extensive experience in the commercial sector, serving as a corporate officer and chief medical officer for Cytyc Corporation of Marlborough, Mass., a leading manufacturer of diagnostic products and surgical devices, from 1995 through 2007. In 2009 he cofounded Constitution Medical Inc. of Boston to develop the Bloodhound™ Integrated Hematology System; this company was acquired by the Roche Group in 2013.

Linder has authored more than 150 articles, book chapters and educational materials, five textbooks, and is a member of several journal editorial boards. He holds multiple patents. He and his wife, Karen, together founded and manage Linseed Capital, which supports early-stage companies in the Midwest.

Linder is expected to remain interim president until the search for Milliken’s successor is successfully completed and a permanent president begins. Linder will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

Regents appoint presidential search committees

Both committees, the Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee and the Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee, are comprised of representatives of key constituencies with which the NU president interacts, including students, faculty and administrators, supporters and donors, the public, and members of the Board of Regents.

The Board of Regents is interested in Nebraskans’ input on the NU presidential search.
The Board invites feedback at
The committees will work with consultants from Isaacson, Miller, the executive search firm that has been retained by the Board, to help identify, recruit, assess and recommend candidates for the university presidency.

“The Board of Regents is interested in increasing the involvement of key stakeholders in the process that will lead to the identification and selection of the next president of the University of Nebraska,” Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks said. “This is a critical leadership position, not only for the university but for the entire State of Nebraska, and the search will benefit from enhanced participation by more constituency representatives.”

The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee will work with the search firm to solicit stakeholder input on issues facing the university and qualities the university should seek in the next president, conduct a broad and inclusive search, seek nominations and applications for the position, and determine how well potential candidates meet criteria that will be established by the Board.

The Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee will review and evaluate application materials, select and interview leading prospects, conduct and/or review reference checks, and recommend to the Board of Regents no fewer than four candidates who agree to become public finalists for the position. Final selection of the next president will be made by the Board of Regents following university visits and public forums by the finalists that will provide opportunities for Nebraska citizens and university constituents to meet the candidates and provide feedback to the Board.

The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee will be co-chaired by Regents Tim Clare of Lincoln and Bob Phares of North Platte. Other members are:

  • Renaisa Anthony, assistant professor of health promotion and deputy director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UNMC
  • Gail Baker, Dean of the College of Communication at UNO
  • Juan Casas, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at UNO
  • Regent Hal Daub of Omaha
  • Dele Davies, vice chancellor for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at UNMC
  • Helen Abbott Feller, president of Churn Thoroughbred Farm, Inc. in Wisner
  • Ronnie Green, NU vice president of agriculture and vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL
  • Barry Kennedy, president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • UNL Student Regent Kevin Knudson, junior majoring in political science
  • John Massey, director and president of J.G. Elliott Insurance Center, member of the Board of Directors of the University of Nebraska Foundation and foundation trustee
  • Dawn Mollenkopf, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at UNK
  • Joseph Oravecz, dean of the Division of Student Affairs at UNK
  • Tonn Ostergard, president and CEO of Crete Carrier Corp. and chair of the Board of Directors of the University of Nebraska Foundation
  • UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman
  • Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus
  • UNK Student Regent Connor Schulte, junior majoring in advertising and public relations
  • Judy Walker, Aaron Douglas Professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics at UNL
  • Chuck Wilson, retired physician and former member of the Board of Regents, Lincoln
  • Gail Walling Yanney, retired physician, community volunteer and philanthropist, Omaha

The Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee will chaired by Regent Howard Hawks of Omaha. Other members are:

  • Susie Buffett, chair of the Sherwood Foundation, Omaha
  • UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold
  • Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation
  • UNO Student Regent Jordan Koch, senior majoring in elementary education
  • Marjorie Kostelnik, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at UNL
  • Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Axtell
  • UNMC Student Regent Krupa Savalia, M.D./Ph.D. Scholars Program
  • Regent Rob Schafer of Beatrice
  • Regent Kent Schroeder of Kearney
  • Julie Shaffer, professor of biology in the College of Natural and Social Sciences at UNK
  • Thomas Warren, president of the Urban League, Omaha
  • Regent Bob Whitehouse of Papillion

The Outreach and Advisory Committee will work over the spring into the summer. The Screening and Selection Committee likely will begin its work in the summer and continue into the fall.

Regents briefed on budget planning

The Board of Regents will make a number of key decisions related to the University of Nebraska’s budget in the coming months, including approval of the 2014-15 operating budget and approval of a 2015-17 biennial budget request. During its March meeting, the Board was briefed on key items of consideration. Among them:

  • 2014-15 will represent the second year of a two-year “affordability compact” with the state in which the university froze resident tuition in exchange for an increase in state appropriations. The Board, however, still will need to determine nonresident tuition rates for the next year. Nonresident rates on all four campuses currently are below the peer averages. Nonresident tuition increased 3 percent in the current year, the lowest increase since 1997.


  • The Board will need to determine salary rates for 2014-15. Faculty salaries at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska Medical Center currently are 7 percent and 8.5 percent behind the peer averages, respectively.
  • A biennial budget request is due to the Governor and Legislature this fall. In addition to core needs such as salaries and benefits, health insurance, utilities and building operation and maintenance, the university is considering potential strategic investments in priority areas including Nebraska Innovation Campus, the Peter Kiewit Institute, Building a Healthier Nebraska, rural futures and college pipeline initiatives.


The University of Nebraska currently makes up about 13 percent of the total state budget, down from 21 percent two decades ago. State appropriations to NU have grown at a slower rate than those to other state agencies and the overall state budget. The university has made $78 million in budget reallocations since 2000 in order to meet its financial obligations while also keeping tuition increases moderate and predictable and investing in priorities.

The university also has initiated a capital planning process with Sasaki Associates, a leading consultant in master planning, in order to determine and prioritize its capital needs in a way that is data-driven and transparent to stakeholders. NU buildings represent nearly three-quarters of the state’s total building assets.


During its March meeting, the Board of Regents:
  • Recognized and thanked three outgoing student regents for their service on the Board: Moses Moxey of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Eric Reznicek of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Martha Spangler of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
  • Approved the program statement and budget for the Breslow Ice Center at UNL. The ice center – funded by a $7 million gift from John Breslow, $3 million to be raised by the NU Foundation and $1 million from UNL Campus Recreation – will provide a single sheet of ice for university and community use. Construction will begin after full funding commitments are in place and is expected to conclude by June 2015. An operating agreement for the ice center between UNL and the City of Lincoln will come to the Board of Regents for consideration when it is finalized.
  • Approved the creation of the Center for Health Disparities in the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The center partners with community organizations and government agencies to improve health and wellness among racial and ethnic minorities and rural and other underserved populations.
  • Heard a report on fire safety in university housing. UNO and UNMC now provide full sprinkler coverage in their campus housing, while about three-quarters of UNK housing is covered by sprinklers and 96 percent of UNL housing is covered. Sixty-eight percent of UNL Greek housing and three-quarters of housing at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis is covered.
  • Approved new undergraduate certificates at NCTA in equine training management, irrigation technology and laboratory animal care.
  • Approved creation of a bachelor’s degree in early childhood and family advocacy at UNK.
  • Approved the issuance of up to $120.5 million in bonds related to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at UNMC.
  • Approved the allocation of Fund B student fees at UNO, UNK and UNL.


The Board of Regents is guided by a Strategic Framework that lays out specific, measurable goals in key areas such as affordability, enrollment, graduation rates, research, engagement with the citizens of Nebraska, and cost-effectiveness. The university regularly reports its progress in each of these areas to the Board; detailed metrics and the university’s updated progress reports are available here.

Board of Regents – University of Nebraska – 3835 Holdrege St. – Lincoln, NE 68583 – (402) 472-3906 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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